Can I celebrate the success of others?
Every summer for the past decade, I have gone on tour with No Longer Music. This has become so embedded into my routine; it’s hard to imagine life any other way. I believe this is what God has put me on earth to do.
Still, even a call from God can be corrupted.
Two years ago, God began to confront me with a serious question: Was my identity wrapped up in being a performing artist?
It all started two years ago, when in the name of multiplication we formed and sent another version of our band that did not include me. This team took our gear, our vehicles, all my of songs, and hit the road. I stayed back and waited for their tour to finish. I remember feeling frustrated each night as reports of their concerts came in. Why am I sitting here? This doesn’t make any sense. I should be there!
Fast forward to today, the 2016 No Longer Music tour is well underway, and I’m not a part of it. Four months ago, I had my first child, and it was decided I would miss sections of the tour, including the start. Just a few weeks ago, as the band left for Europe, I once again was feeling frustrated and confused. I was happy to be with my family, but again I felt my identity being challenged.
I needed to talk to God, so I went to a park and began to pray. As I was praying, I felt like God challenged me with this question “can you celebrate the success of others?” On the surface I thought…” of course!” But as I continued to meditate on that thought, I felt like God was using this question to reveal my true motivation. Was I truly about His kingdom, or was my identity wrapped up in being a musician?
This question penetrated the depths of my heart and forced me to confront the real possibility that I was more interested in the adventure and fulfillment of being the “rock star” than simply being a child of God. I may not have started out that way, but somewhere along the way this lie started to corrupt what was right and true. The truth is that God has called me to use art and music to reach those that don’t know Him. The lie is that my value and self-worth is found in that call.
I believe God used this time to free me from the bondage of this lie. This simple question, “could I celebrate the success of others?” helped me realize that there was tremendous freedom in not needing to do or be anything to feel fulfilled.
As I walked in the park, I remember praying “God, with your help I choose to celebrate the success of others.” At that moment, an incredible peace came over me, and I felt released from the confusion and frustration of not being on the road. In the days after that moment, I felt a profound freedom to celebrate the reports of God’s power at work through the band, though I played no part.
I know there will be many more moments of surrender along the way, and I am by no means immune to placing my identity in false things, but this two year journey was a critical part of God’s refining process in my life and a critical moment for me as a missionary, artist, and follower of Jesus.